When we serve as Jesus commanded, using our gifts and talents to meet the needs of people around us, we become as salt and light to people, pointing them to God. Let me share with you a story: A quiet forest dweller lived high above an Austrian village along the eastern slopes of the Alps. The old gentleman had been hired many years ago by a young town council to clear away the debris from the pools of water up in the mountain crevices that fed the lovely spring flowing through their town.
With faithful, silent regularity, he patrolled the hills, removed the leaves and branches, and wiped away the silt that would otherwise choke and contaminate the fresh flow of water. By and by, the village became a popular attraction for vacationers. Swans floated along the crystal clear spring, mill wheels of various businesses located along the water, farmlands were naturally irrigated, and the view from restaurants was picturesque beyond description. Years passed. One evening the town council met for its semi-annual meeting. As they reviewed the budget, one man’s eye caught the salary figure being paid the obscure keeper of the spring. Said the keeper of the purse, “Who is the old man? Why do we keep him on year after year? No one ever sees him. For all we know the strange ranger of the hills is doing us no good. He isn’t necessary any longer!” By a unanimous vote, they dispensed with the old man’s services.
For several weeks, nothing changed. By early autumn, the trees began to shed their leaves. Small branches snapped off and fell into the pools, hindering the rushing flow of sparkling water. One afternoon, someone noticed a slight yellowish-brown tint in the spring. A couple of days later, the water was much darker. Within another week, a slimy film covered sections of the water along the banks and a foul odor was soon detected. The mill wheels moved slower, some finally ground to a halt. Swans left, as did the tourists. Clammy fingers of disease and sickness reached deeply into the village. Quickly, the embarrassed council called a special meeting. Realizing their gross error in judgment, they hired back the old keeper of the spring. Within a few weeks, the veritable river of life began to clear up. The wheels started to turn, and new life returned to the hamlet in the Alps once again.
This story is a vivid relevant analogy directly related to the times in which we live. What the keeper of the springs meant to the Swiss village, Christians mean to the world. We Christians may seem feeble, needless, unimportant, and small to the vast world, but God help any society that attempts to exist without our influence. Jesus called his followers to be a front-line militia. Nowhere do we get the impression that Jesus wanted us to live in isolation, separated from the world. It is impossible to live, truly live, for the kingdom in private. We are called to a social agenda and an outward expression of God’s principles. We are called to make a difference by influencing and impacting the world around us. We aren’t called to save the world. But, we are called to make a difference. We can’t do everything. But, we can do something. And what we can do, we ought to do.
That’s what being salt and light is all about. As the church…the people…I invite you to join with me and others on a “Courageous Journey of Influence.” I have been hearing back from people who are sharing stories about discovering the ministry of “INFLUENTIAL ACTS OF KINDNESS & LOVE!” What’s your Story? When Jesus was asked about the Greatest Commandment he shot back with this simple answer: Love God and love those in need…saint or sinner…known or unknown…visible and invisible (untouchables). That was His # 1 priority, and should be our #1 priority. How does that stack up to where we are as a church?
How does that reflect our priority focus today? Keeping eyes on Jesus? When we influence others…even our life becomes better when we “do it all for Jesus!” Share your Story. GO BE THE CHURCH!